Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quite-So-Optimistic Movie Reviews presents: Pandorum

Hey, it has been some time since I saw a decent few science fiction and horror stories so I thought I might well make it so that I do some new movie reviews on the stuff I seen. I also decided it is about time to make this blog a section for reviews:

Quite So Optimistic (QSO) reviews will now be marked under QSO tags. Read on. (earlier reviews are under the reviews tag and will remain unchanged.)

Welcome to the (re) first QSO Movie review, our topic of the day: Pandorum.

Two crewmembers Lieutenant Payton and Corporal Bower wakes up in a long distance super transport vessel called Elysium with no memories of their own and no memories of what the purpose or the mission on which they have embarked for.

Trapped in a ship with dying power supply and insufficient supply to maintain life support in a day, Corporal Bower heads through a claustrophobic challenge of an air vent system to get outside to open doors and restart the 'generator' for the ship. He soon finds himself being thrust into a horrorshow of a derelict ship, devoid of life, but not quite.

He encounters other survivors, not so friendly obviously but things get scarier as he encounters the not so welcome onboarders. He discovers the ship has been boarded by Predator like human looking creatures with pale and slimy skin that hunts the humans for food (and vice versa due to food supply by the humans survivors who dare). Hunting in packs, these hunter like much alien creatures are cruel and ruthless, and he is on the menu if he doesn't run.

Halfway through he encounters others, only to be told the 'Terrible Secret of Space' [*cue robot music], when he discovers his mission once more. In 2170 Earth's population has reached immeasurable numbers, heading straight off to around 25 billion and more, food supply, water, etc all reach an epic failure of demand and supply and falls short. The world lacks even air... and pollution and such forces man to seek out new worlds.

After decades of searching, they found it, a planet called Tanis.

It has air, life, and even water, it is the first planet out of so many and so far apart in space that looks and feels like Earth. The problem is how to get there...

Looking through the data, he knows finally why: They are humanity's last hope, they are the last of their kind. Earth... is gone. What matters however is not humanity's extinction, but what comes after extinction... when the last man is left to stand.

No judgment, no sin, no laws... nothing to reign in the human psyche of self importance.

The way things are... just who and where are they... and can they survive what comes after the extinction?


Verdict: 9/10

Truly an A-Class film I reckon, directed by a director so short on the top directors list one even wonders how he got here. The way I see it, large name directors are falling short on acclaimation and it is small guys like these in the background who boils up epic stories like this that don't fall short for those heading to the cinema expecting Event Horizon the remake.

Film wise, it combines the formula of Alien (1) which features a crew stranded in space with a seemingly alien race of hunters that are semi-sentient and pretty hungry for human burgers, as well as the fear in the darkness and alone in halls after halls of metal and broken pipes ala Event Horizon facing the unknown. It is when the electric systems fail and man's logic falter, that the shadows begin to flicker and get a life of their own in the back of our minds that make this film's scary moments so real.

The notion of seemingly random mix of survivors may seem daunting, unsurprisingly an American also somehow makes the protagonist role but we can't change that. There is a Czech chick I assume, a Vietnamese farmer who can kick ass, and a Afro-American cook who seemed all too keen to taste the human flesh. However, the cast makes a very believable almost seemingly self-centered survivors instinct, rather than the usual we must work together shit, they are optimistically challenged.

The focus however, is the film itself.

As the slogan says out. Pandorum, fear what happens next. When mankind's survival chances are all but wiped out, you wonder what you think: "Hey I am the new Adam and Eve, it is just that God made some pretty scary monsters to eat me, so you think my chance of bonking Eve is high? Nah..." The monsters however, are not just refering to the hunters, rather, the premise of working together at the end of the human species is what so gratifying.

If anything, I find the show literally scary, there is nothing more fearful than having these slimy creatures chasing you around with their volumes set to CHIPMUNK screams which literally bleeds your ears (-1 point) but the premise of a commander struggling with himself to escape from pandorum. [ ...Bower talks about Pandorum with Payton, a fictional psychological condition brought on by extended periods of hyper sleep (suspended animation), its symptoms and effects, including severe paranoia, vivid hallucinations, and eventually, homicidal instincts. ] a bit like Cabin Fever but Pandorum sounds cooler so yeah. Word of note is that, when one of the crew members who realized direly that mankind has expired, guess who goes insane and starts a rampage despite being evident hope? Yep.

In a twist of events that happen, it was revealed that mankind is gone, the Earth as they know it has suffered a fate worse than extinction, rather... the end of it. They are the only ones left, and the new beginning however, takes a bit fighting to get to. I think the story here tells much about how man can choose to ignore things like self when it comes to survival, but really, what it really portrays is that when you have finally found some hope... you wonder how many doors do you have to push down to get to it?

Pandorum surely ranks as one of the best shows this season and you can't deny it, in fact, watch it to get a glimpse of how dire humankind can become when faced with the prospects of life or death by the hands of mankind themselves. When the chips are down, and you are the one who is also the card dealer as well as the bank, the chances are... would you let yourself win?


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